If you have sweet potatoes sitting in your pantry for a while, it is essential to check them before cooking. Eating bad sweet potatoes can cause food poisoning and other health problems. But how do you tell if sweet potato is bad? In this article, we’ll show you how to identify the signs of bad sweet potatoes and store them properly to extend their shelf life.

how to tell if sweet potato is bad

One of the first things to look for when checking if a sweet potato is rotten is its appearance. A fresh sweet potato has smooth, firm skin with no cracks or bruises.

How to Tell If Sweet Potato Is Bad?

If your sweet potato is oozing, smelly, discolored, and soft to the touch, it is not good for eating. Also, if you notice any soft spots, mold, or discoloration, it’s a sign that the sweet potato is going bad. Additionally, if the sweet potato has sprouted or has green spots, it’s time to toss it out.

If you’re wondering how to tell if sweet potato is bad, there are a few key indicators to look out for, the smell test and the texture check.

Smell Test

The first way to tell if your sweet potato is bad is to sniff it. If it has gone bad, it will emit a foul odor that is hard to miss.

The smell will be musty, moldy, or rotten. If you detect any of these smells, it’s best to discard the sweet potato immediately.

Texture Check

The second way to tell if your sweet potato is bad is to feel the texture. A fresh sweet potato should be firm and smooth to the touch.

It will feel soft, mushy, or slimy if it has deteriorated. Additionally, if you notice any discoloration or mold growth on the skin, it’s a sign that the sweet potato has spoiled.

Sweet potatoes turn black on slicing

When you slice a sweet potato, it is normal for the flesh to turn slightly darker due to oxidation. However, if the sweet potato turns completely black, it is a sign that it has gone bad and should not be consumed.

The black color is caused by the breakdown of the sweet potato’s sugars, which can occur when stored improperly or for too long. This can happen even if the sweet potato looks fine on the outside.

If you notice that your sweet potato is sitting sliced for a long time and it has turned black, it is best to discard it.

Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place with good ventilation to keep them fresh.

Avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as this can cause them to develop a rigid core and an unpleasant taste.

What does a spoiled sweet potato look like inside?

A spoiled sweet potato will be whitish from the inside. The fresh sweet potato has orange or brown flesh inside. A rotten one has mold growth inside that changes the color of the inner flesh.

If you see any discoloration and mold, discard the sweet potato.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes?

When storing sweet potatoes, you should keep a few things in mind to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to store sweet potatoes:

  1. Choose the right spot: Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. A pantry or a cupboard is a good option. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator as the cold temperature can change the texture and taste of the sweet potatoes.
  2. Don’t wash them: Remove any dirt or debris on the skin before storing sweet potatoes. However, please do not wash them; excess moisture can cause them to rot quickly. Instead, dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  3. Keep them dry: Moisture is the enemy of sweet potatoes. Store them dry and avoid wrapping them in plastic or airtight containers. Instead, use a breathable bag or a perforated plastic bag.
  4. Separate them: Sweet potatoes release ethylene gas as they ripen, which can cause other produce nearby to spoil faster. To prevent this, store sweet potatoes separately from other fruits and vegetables.

By following these simple steps, you can extend the shelf life of your sweet potatoes and enjoy their delicious flavor and nutrition for longer.

How to Select Good Sweet Potatoes

What do Bad Sweet Potatoes Look Like?

When selecting sweet potatoes, it’s important to choose ones that are fresh and free from any signs of spoilage. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s best to avoid the sweet potato:

  • Soft spots or bruises
  • Mold
  • Discoloration or dark spots
  • Wrinkled or shriveled skin
  • Sprouts or buds

These are all signs that the sweet potato is beginning to spoil and may be unsafe to eat.

What Happens if You Eat Bad Sweet Potatoes?

Eating bad sweet potatoes can lead to various health problems, including food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

In severe cases, food poisoning can even be life-threatening. It’s important to always check the sweet potatoes for any signs of spoilage before eating them.

To select good sweet potatoes, look for firm ones with smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid sweet potatoes that have any signs of spoilage, such as soft spots, mold, or sprouts.

Additionally, try to choose similar sweet potatoes in size and shape, as this will help ensure they cook evenly.

Do Uncooked Sweet Potatoes Go Bad?

If you have uncooked sweet potatoes in your pantry, you may wonder if they can go bad. The answer is yes, they can.

Like any other vegetable, sweet potatoes have a shelf life and can spoil if not stored properly. Here’s what you need to know about the shelf life of uncooked sweet potatoes.

Shelf Life of Uncooked Sweet Potatoes

Uncooked sweet potatoes can last for several weeks to a few months, depending on how they are stored. They can last up to two months if you store them in a cool, dry, dark place, such as a pantry or cellar.

However, storing them in a warm and humid place, such as a kitchen countertop or a cupboard near the stove, can spoil within a week or two.

Signs of Spoiled Sweet Potatoes

So, how can you tell if your uncooked sweet potatoes have gone bad? Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Mold: If you see mold on the sweet potato, discard it immediately.
  • Soft spots: If you notice any soft spots or areas that are mushy or discolored, it’s a sign that the sweet potato is spoiling.
  • Smell: If the sweet potato has a foul odor, it’s a sign that it’s gone bad.
  • Sprouts: If you see any sprouts growing from the sweet potato, it’s a sign that it’s past its prime.


Uncooked sweet potatoes can go bad if not stored properly. Store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place to ensure they last as long as possible. And if you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold, soft spots, foul odor, or sprouts, discard the sweet potato immediately.

how to tell if sweet potato has gone bad

How Long Does Sweet Potato Last Once Cooked?

If you have some leftover cooked sweet potatoes, you may be wondering how long they will last before going bad.

If you store cooked sweet potatoes in the refrigerator, they can last up to 5 days. It’s essential to store them in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting in and causing mold or bacteria growth. You can also wrap them in plastic or aluminum foil to help keep them fresh.

If you want to store cooked sweet potatoes for longer, you can freeze them. Cooked sweet potatoes can last up to 6 months in the freezer if stored properly.

To freeze them, let them cool to room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Be sure to label the container or bag with the date so you can keep track of how long they’ve been frozen.

When you’re ready to eat the frozen sweet potatoes, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. You can then reheat them in the oven, microwave, or stove.

It’s important to note that the texture of cooked sweet potatoes may change slightly after being frozen and thawed. They may become slightly mushy or have a different texture than when they were first cooked. However, they should still be safe to eat as long as they are stored properly.

Overall, cooked sweet potatoes can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator and 6 months in the freezer. Proper storage is key to keeping them fresh and safe to eat.

How to tell if ginger has gone bad?

Can you steam food in an air fryer?

How to cook barley in Instant Pot?

What to do when the Air Fryer doesn’t turn on?